Fierce and strong, Ragnar Lothbrok is the epitome of Viking legend but was he something more? Could he have been a son or descendant of the Norse god Odin, making him brother to, or at least a relation of Thor?
Lothbrok’s heritage, at least in history, is unproven. He could have been one man, or the amalgamation of a number of legendary Vikings.
A warlord of Danish descent, Lothbrok lived in the 9th century and went on to rule Denmark and Sweden. Known for his raids on France and England, he had a number of sons who gained even more notoriety for their deeds.
Lothbrok was ruthless, renowned for his “blitzkrieg” battle tactics of sudden charges to destroy even well-organized enemies. He’s rumoured to have attacked churches and hanged worshippers. Ragnar Lothbrok had as many as four wives including Lagertha the Shieldmaiden and Aslaug the warrior queen.
His eventual death is also represented differently across a number of stories, he may have died of dysentery after ravaging Paris or met a more heroic end at the hands of his enemies. The latter story suggests he died after being captured by King Aella of Northumbria who threw him into a pit of snakes.
Ragnar Lothbrok – Son of Odin
Odin is known as the god of war and sometimes the “all-father” for his purported role in creation or even “val-father” as father of the slain. According to legend, Odin also had a softer side and has been credited with giving mankind knowledge of poetry and runes.
Though Odin is portrayed as being noble and righteous, sometimes he’s also named a trickster by the ancient Norse – a character who incited war.
As one Norse story goes, Odin travelled to Mimir’s Well, the waters of which gave the knowledge of all things. For a drink from the well, Odin gouged out his eye for Mimir. Thus, Odin is always pictured with one eye. He’s also usually accompanied by his animal familiars, two wolves and two ravens.
How could he have fathered Lothbrok or one of his ascendants? Odin may have travelled “Midgard,” the home of man, seducing women. For this reason, Odin was accused of being the father of many illegitimate children in Viking times.
Brother of Thor
Though it is, of course, myth and legend, Ragnar Lothbrok may then have also been related to Odin’s most-known son Thor the god of thunder. This hammer-wielding legend, as most of us know, is the protector of mankind and the god of fertility. It was Thor’s name that led to “Thor’s day,” which we now know as Thursday.
In Germanic and Norse legend Thor is red-haired and red-bearded and like Lothbrok he may have died from the poison of a snake. For Thor it was the poison of his greatest enemy, Midgard’s serpent Jormungand. This, according to Norse mythology’s end of the cosmos “Ragnarok.”